Long parting with the ghosts of the past

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Maxim Krans) - A recent appeal by several famous Russian politicians and cultural figures to establish a national memorial to the victims of Stalin's purges, and Mikhail Gorbachev's proposal to move Lenin's corpse from its mausoleum on Red Square, are giving the new president more food for thought.

Isn't it time to bid a final farewell to the ghosts of communism, and dot the i's and cross the t's in the recent history of our state? In other words, shouldn't he do what his two predecessors failed to, or did not want to do?

The authors of the appeal say the proposed memorial is necessary not only to remember the era but also to help understand how so many millions of people could have become victims. As those who witnessed these events pass away, genuine history is being replaced with myths and the dry lines of text books, where "a sinister figure of Stalin, this time as an 'effective manager,' is being revived on barren memories." This is a direct reference to a new history textbook, from which our children and grandchildren are supposed to gain an understanding of the communist era.

But it is not the only case in point. Numerous "scholarly" and "fictional" works, as well as TV "documentaries," have appeared in recent years which make glaring omissions, or even contradictions, of the facts, and seek to present "the leader of all nations" and his bloody entourage in a favorable light.

As for the "ever-living" founding father of the authoritarian Soviet system, one of the signatories of the appeal, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, proposed that his corpse should be removed from the mausoleum and buried in a normal way. He also suggested removing the cemetery next to the Kremlin wall on Red Square, where real villains, guilty of the most horrendous crimes, lie buried alongside genuinely outstanding people. The idea is not new, but it is still topical. The more radical democrats pressed for such a move in the early 1990s but the general public did not support them, and the authorities did not dare to take such a radical step.

But the public mood has shifted. In the past the ratio between supporters and opponents of Lenin's reburial was approximately fifty-fifty. Now, according to the Public Opinion Fund (POF), it is 46% to 29%. The ratio is approximately the same on the issue of removing the sculptures of Lenin that adorn the main streets of almost every Russian city and village.

Incidentally, the VTsIOM pollster found that only a quarter of Russians support the return of "Iron" Felix Dzerzhinsky's statue to Lubyanka Square.

Yet, these proposals are aimed at more than the removal of Lenin's relics and other communist symbols from our streets. We must resolutely pass the point of no-return, and shut the door to the past once and for all. Gorbachev believes that to do this we should complete the rehabilitation of those who perished in Stalin's purges. This process has been interrupted more than once, which, he says, shows that "some people do not want it," and that "the situation in this country is still far from normal."

It is certainly not normal that the victims of the Katyn tragedy have not been rehabilitated. In 1990, the government issued an official statement acknowledging Soviet guilt in shooting 22,000 Polish officers taken prisoner during the partition of Poland in 1939. The Soviet and Russian presidents confirmed our responsibility for this crime. Though Vladimir Putin refused to put an equation mark between Nazi and Stalinist reprisals, he said that it was possible to rehabilitate the murdered Poles.

However, when their relatives addressed the Moscow Court, their case was dismissed. The Chief Military Prosecutor's Office halted its investigation into the massacre altogether on the grounds that "there is no evidence of the crime of genocide," and the perpetrators are dead. Moreover, it also classified most of the volumes (116 out of 183) of material gathered during the 15-year investigation.

Over the past few years it has become almost politically incorrect in Russia to criticize the Soviet era or talk about historic responsibility for the policies of previous regimes. Not a word is said about the massive famine of the 1930s, the millions of people who perished in our concentration camps, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the criminal deportation of whole peoples. The stubborn refusal to discuss or even acknowledge this grim history plays directly into the hands of nationalists in neighboring states, who are equally unscrupulous in exploiting these episodes for their own self-centered political aims.

This ostrich-like denial has another effect. The clarity with which the criminality of the Bolshevik leaders and the inhuman nature of their ideology were once understood in the public mind is becoming clouded. The POF estimates that some 40% of Russians believe that the October 1917 coup was on balance more positive than negative for Russia, and 54% of young people polled by the Levada Center are convinced that Stalin's actions were more good than bad.

This is why these initiatives are more urgent than ever before. Russia must part with its dark past once and for all, but that does not mean things should be forgotten. On the contrary, all secrets should be revealed. Future generations should know the whole truth; they should remember it and avoid its mistakes.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of Trend.

Iran to start 60% enrichment tonight: Nuclear spokesman
Iran to start 60% enrichment tonight: Nuclear spokesman
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
Loading Bars
Iran to start 60% enrichment tonight: Nuclear spokesman
Israel to allow vaccinated tourists in starting late May
Biden confirms invitation to Putin to take part in climate summit
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Belarus have informal meeting
IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
Azerbaijani FM, Romanian ambassador stress high level of development of bilateral political relations (PHOTO)
Special equipment of Belarus assembled in Azerbaijan may be exported to Turkey
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry responds to Armenia's statement on War Trophy Park
President of Belarus pays working visit to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Azerbaijani president gives weighty answer to Armenia’s disinformation campaign - Official (VIDEO)
Belarus reveals plans for oil purchases from Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan’s FlyArystan launching direct flights to Georgia
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy printed materials
Azerbaijan's Aghdam needs to be fully rebuilt - German historian (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's PM meets with BP's regional president
Ukraine may take part in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
President Ilham Aliyev: Pakistan was among countries that openly supported Azerbaijan from first days of confrontation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Sudan due to send first delegation to Israel next week
Liabilities of Bank Melli Iran’s Baku branch increase
Armenia obligated under int'l law to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan - Matthew Bryza
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil's Sadi village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan, Ukraine discuss full resumption of mutual flights
Oil exports via Barents Sea in Lukoil system increased
Hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan needs young experts for technologies - ministry
Azerbaijan shares latest data on mine clearance work carried out on liberated lands
Co-op between Iran, Russia to be effective in activating nuclear deal – Rouhani
2021 demand for OPEC crude to be higher than in 2020
Assets of Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Azerbaijan increase
On Independence Day eve Israel's population over 9.3m
Iran still waiting for S.Korea to provide solution, release its blocked assets
Azerbaijan issues data on number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,457 more COVID-19 cases, 2,002 recoveries
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2021 liquids supply
Rosatom can take part in developing green energy in Azerbaijan - expert
Repairing of last well in Iran's Naft Shahr field launched
Iran in favor of strengthening relations with Russia – President Rouhani
Azerbaijan Railways builds co-op on transiting additional goods
IMF talks forecast of money supply growth in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022
European Hydrogen Backbone’s updated cost revealed
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's oil, non-oil GDP
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port down
Azerbaijan expects tourism sector to recover by summer
Plan on budget revenues surpassed in Kazakhstan
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Around 70% of European infrastructure to start transporting hydrogen
U.S. will base 500 additional troops in Germany
Russia documents 8,173 coronavirus cases in past day, lowest figure since September 28
Kazakhstan names value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Iran's mobile phone imports increase
Azerbaijani president signs order on hosting European Football Championship matches in Baku
Kazakhstan drafts pricing rules for exported crude oil, gas condensate
Retail trade indicators decrease in Kazakhstan
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan records decrease in oil output
Belarusian IT company keen to expand its activities in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company announces its production plan
Uzbekistan building modern wastewater treatment facility at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy engines
Russian, Azerbaijani military discuss Iskander-M missile debris in Karabakh region - Russian official
Greece can take slightly more than 1 mcm/d via TAP
President Ilham Aliyev: Liberation of territories will be additional opportunities
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenians did it deliberately in order to erase legacy of Azerbaijani culture in order to erase these territories from our memories
Together with Russian president, we discussed issue about Iskander-M missile – Azerbaijani president
TAP supplies to Greece cause contraction in LNG imports
Kazakhstan attracts investments to develop national parks in Almaty region
European Commission makes statement on TAP
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency allows flights from Irkutsk to 3 countries
President Ilham Aliyev: I had a strong feeling during negotiations that Armenia doesn’t want a solution
President Ilham Aliyev: I think we need to be more active in order to try to build bridges
ADB focuses on renewable energy projects in Georgia
US eyes to continue negotiations on direct flights with Georgia
Bank of Georgia discusses revised outlook for country’s economic growth in 2021
Anabechdi company plans to produce textile in Georgia
Georgia to receive significant funds from IMF
Azerbaijan reveals 2M2021 data lending to energy, chemistry, natural resources sector
Georgian E-Space company looks to export its software
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 65,000
Amount of Georgian bonds held by foreign investors up
JSC "Georgian Railway" reveals financial indicators for 2020
Uzbekistan, Russia discussing joint projects on aircraft construction
Iran's propane gas exports shrink
Armenia committed ecological terror during occupation of Azerbaijani lands - Ecology ministry
India, EU reiterate commitment to democracy, freedom and respect for human rights
Bangladesh: Multinational military exercise 'Shantir Ogroshena 2021' concludes
Turkey’s export of grains, legumes to Iran jumps
PM Modi to inaugurate virtual Raisina Dialogue, 50 countries to participate
US to support Georgian farmers, small business owners through agrotourism
External merchandise trade down in Georgia
New buildings of Turkmen Turkmenbasy, Senagat banks opened
Turkey's 1Q2021 export of chemical products sees increase
Iran's polyethylene exports rise
Georgia assists new ferroalloy enterprise in Terjola through "Produce in Georgia" program
Azerbaijan issues data on compulsory non-life insurance for Feb.2021
Foreign currency demand of Azerbaijani banks rebounds
Azerbaijan's revenues from customs duties increase
All news